View previous topic | View next topic

Flora and Fauna - Pregnancy tests using frogs

Page 1 of 1

Molly Cule
326106.  Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:43 pm Reply with quote

Q7: What did frogs tell women in the 1940's?

A – whether or not they were pregnant.

Notes

Frogs used to be used as pregnancy tests in the from the 1930’s until the 1960’s when more modern pregnancy tests were invented. The urine of a possibly pregnant woman would be injected into the dorsal lymph sac of the female African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis), if the woman was pregnant the female frog would ovulate within 8-12 hours. This was the only standard test until the end of the 1950’s and many hospitals kept the frogs for this reason.

The frog test worked by picking up a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, this is what most modern pregnancy tests pick up.

Before frogs were used as the standard pregnancy test the Aschheim- Zondek test was used. This worked similarly though was more brutal (if you were the animal). An infantile female mouse was injected subcutaneously with urine of the person to be tested, and the mouse later was killed and dissected. If the woman was pregnant the mouse would have ovulated, if the mouse hadn’t the woman probably wasn’t.

The export of the African frogs around the world for pregnancy tests may be responsible for current trouble in the amphibian world; almost a third of amphibians are at risk of extinction possibly due to the spread of a fungus called 'chytridiomycosis', which was carried around the world by the thousands of African fertility frogs exported each year.

Many frogs escaped and wild populations sprung up in California, South America, and in Wales, near Swansea.

Urine has been used to look for signs of pregnancy for many years. The ancient Egyptians watered bags of wheat and barley with the urine of a woman thought to be pregnant. Germination indicated pregnancy. The type of grain that sprouted was taken as an indicator of the fetus's sex. This theory was tested in 1963 and 70% of the time the urine of pregnant women did stimulate growth whilst the urine of men and non-pregnant women did not.

In 17th C Europe ‘piss prophets' said they could diagnose different diseases by the colour of urine. Some claimed they were able to look at urine to work out if a lady was pregnant; if it was clear, pale and lemon-like, off-white or had a cloud on it’s surface then a baby was probably on the way.

http://www.slate.com/id/2134212/
http://history.nih.gov/exhibits/thinblueline/timeline.html
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_wtd004558.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4257232.stm http://128.240.24.212/cgi-bin/omd?Aschheim-Zondek+test

 
WB
326267.  Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:17 am Reply with quote

Molly Cule wrote:
In 17th C Europe ‘piss prophets' said they could diagnose different diseases by the colour of urine. Some claimed they were able to look at urine to work out if a lady was pregnant; if it was clear, pale and lemon-like, off-white or had a cloud on it’s surface then a baby was probably on the way.


As a coda, this is from the Times just a week ago:

Quote:
Medieval physicians believed that they could diagnose disease by holding up a flask of the patient’s urine to the light and squinting at it. According to scientists at Imperial College London, they could have been on to something.

A team there has completed the first worldwide study of the metabolites (breakdown products) that are found in urine, reflecting the diet, inheritance and the lifestyle of the people from whom it came. They call such studies “metabolomics” by analogy with genomics, which looks at all the genes that make up the human species, and proteomics, which does the same for proteins.


and

Quote:
Scientists from Imperial College, the US, Belgium, Japan and China took samples from 4,630 volunteers aged between 40 and 59. Professor Jeremy Nicholson, from Imperial College, said: “Metabolic profiling can tell us how specific aspects of a person’s diet and how much they drink are contributing to their risks for certain diseases, and these are things which we can’t investigate by looking at a person’s DNA. What is really important is that we can test out our new hypotheses directly, in a way that is not easy with genetic biomarkers.”


More at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article3784842.ece

 

Page 1 of 1

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group